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5 tax moves to make this June


June is here! Summer officially arrives in a few weeks. And many of us already are making vacation plans.

Great! Have fun. But also make some time this month to deal with tax tasks. Really.

Taxes definitely aren’t a day at the beach, but some summer tax moves can help make next year’s filing easier, and potentially less costly.

Here are five tax moves to make, or at least consider, this June.

1. Pay your estimated taxes. Millions of us must make these extra tax payments each year. The payments cover income we get that’s not subject to withholding, such as earnings from gig work or other self-employment jobs, prize or gambling winnings, or investment income. Some Social Security recipients also face estimated taxes.

The June deadline for all these folks usually is June 15, but this year it’s pushed to Monday, June 17, because the 15th is on Saturday. This payment is the second estimated tax amount for 2024, and is for income earned in April and May. Most of us estimated taxpayers, however, don’t calculate the per month income. Instead, we figure how much we expect to make — or pay 100 percent (110 percent for higher earners) of last year’s tax liability — and send in that amount in four equal payments.

Those four equal estimated tax payments, not the calendar, are how the process got its quarterly name. It’s also the estimated tax payment method preferred by the Internal Revenue Service. You can read more about estimated taxes in my earlier estimated tax primer, as well as my estimated tax questions and answers post. My post on April’s estimated tax payment has information on ways to pay what you owe.

2. File your 2023 tax return. No, I’m looking at the June calendar. I also know that most of us met the April 15 Tax Day deadline, or filed an extension to have until Oct. 15 to get our tax returns to the IRS.

But some folks got some extra filing time. The reason, however, is not one any of us wants. Taxpayers in eight states are in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designated disaster areas thank to destructive weather in theirs areas in late 2023 or earlier this year.

The IRS’ usual issuance of tax relief after the FEMA declarations gave these individuals until Monday, June 17, to file their 2023 tax return. They live in specific parts of California, Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington, and West Virginia. My post on this disaster-prompted Tax Day delay has specifics on who must file by June 17.

Another group of taxpayers who weren’t in major disaster areas also have until June 17 to file their 2023 tax returns. They are U.S. taxpayers who live and work outside the United States and Puerto Rico.

This automatically delayed June due date also applies to members of the military who are posted outside the United States and its nearby island territory, and who don't qualify for a longer combat zone extension.

But those filers abroad, either civilians or military personnel, should have paid any tax due by the April Tax Day. If they didn’t, they’ll owe more for paying late.

If you're one of these taxpayers facing the June 17 deadline, don't panic. You can get even more time by sending the IRS extension request, otherwise known as Form 4868. That will give you until mid-October to finish filling out the forms.

3. Get hurricane ready. June 1 marked the official start of the 2024 Atlantic basin/Gulf of Mexico hurricane season. Unlike prior years when we had storms form before the official start of the tropical season, things have been quiet so far. But weather officials don’t expect that to last.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued its most aggressive hurricane season outlook ever. Meteorologists with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center predict an 85 percent chance of an above-normal hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30.

Hurricane prep tips NOAA graphic

NOAA is forecasting 17 to 25 total named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher). Of those, eight to 13 are forecast to become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), with four to seven becoming major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5, with winds of 111 mph or higher).

So get ready now. It only takes one to wreak havoc it makes landfall where you live. And remember that tropical storms and hurricanes move far inland, bringing extensive, flooding rains.

My post on the 2024 hurricane season has more on ways to prepare, including the many ways you can stay informed as storms churn toward our Eastern Seaboard or Gulf of Mexico coastlines. And the hurricane countdown clock over in the ol' blog's right column will let you know how many days, hours, and seconds you have to worry about such storms.

4. Do some potentially tax-saving housekeeping. If you missed spring cleaning, no worries. Summer's also a good time to determine what you can do without. If that includes clothing or household items, you also can donate those and, if you itemize, claims the gifts as a charitable tax deduction. Just be sure to follow the IRS' charitable giving rules. That include claiming the correct fair market value of your donated items.

5. Adjust your withholding. If you have a wage or salary paying job, a chunk of your earnings every pay period goes to the IRS via payroll withholding. The tax goal is to have the withholding amount to be as close as possible to what you owe when you file your annual tax return. If you got a big refund or were surprised by a tax bill when you filed, you can adjust your withholding to get it closer to your year’s final tax bill.

The IRS' online Tax Withholding Estimator, available in English and Spanish, can help you get your withholding amount just right. Then plug the tool's numbers into a new Form W-4 and give that document to your payroll office. Doing so in June will spread any changes over the next six to seven months, depending on your pay schedule, so the amount, especially if your withholding increases, shouldn't be such a shock and mess up your budget’s your cash flow.

More June tax moves: OK, you've checked out these five June Tax Moves, and some apply to your tax situation. Take care of them now, or as soon as you get back from your vacation.

You also can, once your refreshed from your much-needed holiday, find more tax tips to take care of this month. The list is in the ol' blog's usual place, the right-hand column, under the red Tax Moves image.

Here's to a happy Summer 2024 and its many tax-saving possibilities.



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